Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
12.17 Brazilian police foil million-dollar fraud to export precious wood to China [clear-cutting forests harshly impacts all life above and below ground-level for decades; it decreases oxygen production and seguestration of CO2 and increases area, frequency and duration of drought]
12.13 English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal [Are similar tests of U.S. waters conducted by the EPA anymore? We think not...]
News Media Matters
12.18 How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine [profiles how America elected its most immoral president]
12.17 A Report to Our Readers
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
12.18 Paranoia grips Capitol Hill as harassment scandal spreads [Surely Republicans implicated won't resign—like Al Franken was forced to—before passing super tax-cuts for the super rich]
12.18 This man sums up all that is wrong about Trump's takeover of the courts [2:04 video of another incompetent district court judge nominee]
12.18 Trump will drop climate change from US National Security Strategy [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
12.17 'Making America Stupid Again': Outrage Over Forbidden 7 Words You Can't Say at Trump's CDC [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
12.16 Poverty in US set to increase due to Donald Trump's policies, says UN official [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 Republicans Despise the Working Class [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.17 Venue of last resort: the climate lawsuits threatening the future of big oil [something else Republicans are packing the courts for...]
12.15 Who Pays for Judicial Races? The Politics of Judicial Elections 2015-16 [desperately packing the courts at all levels to protect white power & unregulated capitalism]
12.13 US Concern Over 'Pervasive' High-Level Corruption Surging Under Trump: Poll [anyone surprised?]
12.17 Trump’s Misuse of Intelligence on Iran [immoral behavior that could lead to War]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
12.17 How a Philadelphia nun became the unlikely face of conscientious capitalism [Why don't we teach morality in Law & Business schools?]
12.16 The Republican Tax Bill Provides Huge Benefits to People Who Don’t Work. But Only if They’re Rich. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 The United States Is Now as Unequal as Russia. And That’s Before the Tax Bill. [oligarchy-controlled countries are wonderful for the very rich]
12.16 EU to force firms to reveal true owners in wake of Panama Papers [what are the chances oligarchy-controlled countries (esp. America and Russia) ever agree to fight tax evasion and money landering? International agencies must all mandate common regulations as a condition for UN membership, trade agreements, world bank loans, etc.]
International & Futurism
12.17 Africa’s new elite force: women gunning for poachers and fighting for a better life [a good model that converts victims of abuse and cruelty into positive activists with good jobs...]
Impeachment: Breaking the Dam in Olympia, Washington
Even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is “off the table,” a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it.If the state of Washington ends up passing a joint legislative resolution next month calling on the US House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, it will because 900 people who crammed into Olympia’s Center for the Performing Arts last Tuesday evening, and countless others across the state, pushed them into it.
When I and my two co-speakers, CIA veteran Ray McGovern and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, came out on the stage, we all felt not like political speakers or authors, but like rock stars. The applause was deafening, not just at the start of the program, but after each speaker’s points were made.
It was clear that even if the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says impeachment is “off the table,” a sizeable hunk of the American public is hungering for a taste of it.
Washington is one of a group of states where a serious effort is underway to pass joint legislative resolutions that, thanks to Rules of the House penned by Thomas Jefferson and in effect for nearly length of the Republic, would put impeachment back on the table at the House right under Speaker Pelosi’s nose. The significance of the gathering in Olympia is that a freshman senator from Olympia, Eric Oemig, has introduced a bill in the state senate calling for such a resolution. His bill, S6018, is slated to go to a hearing on March 1, to determine whether it can be considered by the full senate, and impeachment activists are planning to have hundreds—perhaps thousands—of backers on hand to make sure it gains committee approval.
“We don’t hear any of our leaders today talking about impeachment,” Oemig told the crowd. “So the fact that the grass roots have built up the way they have is remarkable!”
Oemig brushed aside what he said was a common argument among colleagues in the legislature that impeachment was not the state’s business, and that it would “interfere” with more pressing state matters. Noting that the war in Iraq—one of the key impeachable crimes because of the lies that were used to justify it—is costing hundreds of billions of dollars, Oemig pointed out how many crucial projects affecting Washington State residents were in jeopardy because of lack of federal funding. He noted too that issues like the president’s violation of civil liberties and his abuses of power directly affect citizens of the state. “I don’t think this is a partisan issue,” he said. “Many of my Republican colleagues have grave concerns about some of the Constitutional violations of this administration.”
In my own address, I focused on some key Bush constitutional violations and crimes which I believe are the best arguments to use in convincing conservatives and Republicans of the importance of impeachment. Among these are Bush’s order for the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens, his use of so-called “signing statements” to invalidate (so far) 1200 laws or parts of laws passed by the Congress, and his authorization of torture. In the first case, I noted that the president has already been declared, by a federal judge, to have committed a felony by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the second case, I explained that Bush is claiming—illegally--that the so-called “War” on Terror makes him a commander in chief unfettered by the Constitution, with not just executive, but also legislative and judicial authority—a claim of dictatorial power that has no basis in the Constitution. Finally, I pointed out that in authorizing and failing to punish torture, the president, by making it less likely that enemy fighters will surrender, has been directly causing death and injury among US troops.
The biggest laugh came when I pointed out that failing to impeach Bush over the signing statements issue would mean that the next president—perhaps Hillary—would be able to cite Bush as a precedent and also ignore Congress. “That,” I said, “should put the fear of god into Republicans.”
McGovern told the crowd that the administration had destroyed the CIA, preferring “faith-based” to real, hard-nosed intelligence. With the angry intensity of a man who has given nearly 30 years of service to the government only to see it trashed by a know-nothing, criminal administration, he suggested that impeachment was the best way to bring the War in Iraq to an end and to prevent the launching of yet another illegal war—this time against Iran.
Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron. Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime.De la Vega, a veteran federal prosecutor, and author of a new book, The U.S. v. Bush, which imagines a grand jury investigation and indictment of the president and vice president on a charge of fraud, laid out the case that the Bush administration has in essence been a criminal syndicate defrauding the American public on a scale far worse than Enron. Meanwhile, she said, the Congress, the media and the American public have, like the Queens neighbors of stabbing victim Kitty Genovese, averted their eyes from the crime.
Questions following the three presentations focused on why the Congress has been so unwilling to act to initiate impeachment, and on what the American people can do.
The answer all the speakers gave in one way or another was to organize—to convince neighbors, co-workers and friends of the need to impeach the president, to lobby a cowardly Congress to act, and, most importantly, to help move Sen. Oemig’s bill forward in the Washington Senate and House.
At present, three states, Washington, Vermont and New Mexico, have bills calling for joint impeachment resolutions (other states, including Rhode Island, New Jersey and California, may also see bills submitted). Under Thomas Jefferson’s Rules of the House, any one of those resolutions, if passed and forwarded to the House of Representatives, could start the process of impeachment.
It seems likely that if Washington passed Oemig’s bill (it currently has eight co-sponsors), or if one of the ones moving through the legislatures of Vermont or New Mexico were to pass, the other states might follow suit. As well, representatives in Congress could feel emboldened to submit their own bills of impeachment.
In other words, the dam will burst, and impeachment will be underway.
In Olympia, as 900 fired-up and fed-up citizens left the hall last Tuesday—signing impeachment petitions on the way out—it was clear that the dam had already burst, at least locally.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns, titled This Can't be Happening!, is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's latest book is The Case for Impeachment, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. Visit his website for more information. Lindorff may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story is published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
This story was published on February 24, 2007.